Longford RFC Mini/Youth Notes 05/02/2017
Summary: Fixtures & Results & U15/U16 Match Reports
Longford U13 12 Tullamore 21
Longford U14 17 Birr 19
Longford U15 15 Birr 10
Sat 11th February
U14’s vs. Tullamore (Home)
U16’s vs. Tullamore (Home)
U18’s vs. North Kildare (Home)
U15 McCauley Cup Longford U15 24 Edenderry 26
Having taken an early lead, been ahead on the scoreboard for almost the entire game, dominated possession and territory for long periods, it ultimately transpired that Longford suffered a heart breaking first round cup loss to Edenderry on Saturday with a converted try in the fifth minute of injury time. At the end of the day, however, you make your own luck and having failed to fully capitalise on their ascendancy for much of the game by not taking all the scoring opportunities which came their way Longford contributed to their own downfall with the concession of a few soft tries and can, therefore, have few complaints overall. The work rate and commitment throughout was generally of the highest order, so much so that the huge Edenderry pack, their main strength, only managed to bulldoze their way over the line once during the whole game.
Longford traditionally have been slow starters this year, usually finding themselves playing “catch up” rugby but on Saturday they started brightly and with great purpose, their efforts yielding a try with just four minutes on the clock. From the kick off, Seamus McKeon, who was outstanding throughout, gathered possession and made hard ground. James Doyle followed suit and Edenderry eventually conceded a penalty at the breakdown. With a quick tap and go Longford brought play close to the visitors’ line and following a number of rucks it was Ciaran McCormack who got the touchdown in the corner for an unconverted try.
Having got their noses ahead Longford conceded a try to the visitors beneath the posts following an intercepted pass. Despite this set back Longford quickly got themselves back in the game when, following the kick off they regained possession, worked their way up field and Jamie Byrne sliced his way through the entire Edenderry defence for a fine individual effort.
By now, Longford were in complete control and Edenderry were finding it impossible to get out of their own half. The lead was extended after 20 minutes play when Ciaran McCormack bagged his second try of the day following a quickly taken tap penalty and good handling by Mossie McDermott and Shane Mallon. It was then, however, that the wheels began to come off. Firstly, Longford began to concede penalty after penalty at the breakdown yielding, in the first instance, possession and, then, territory to the visitors. What was really frustrating was that the penalties were conceded needlessly, very often deep in the Edenderry half when they were posing no threat whatsoever. Ahead by 17 – 7 Longford really should have closed out the half but with the penalty count rising Edenderry were able to get themselves back into Longford territory and on the stroke of half time they broke through for a try in the left corner. Again, it was a soft try with four, perhaps five Longford players failing to halt the Edenderry ball carrier in his tracks, or bring him to the ground.
Rejuvenated by this score, Edenderry enjoyed their best period of the game following the turnaround but resolute defensive work from, in particular, Ciaran Shannon, Daire McManus and Mark McHugh ensured that Edenderry remained scoreless. With 15 minutes of the half gone Longford extended their lead. Having weathered the Edenderry storm Longford got themselves into an attacking position following a penalty which was kicked to touch. When the lineout was won Longford recycled through the phases. When it looked like the attack had broke down, and forward momentum lost, Jamie Byrne produced another great piece of individual skill when he chipped ahead from what looked like a hopeless position and he followed up his own kick to gather possession even though under huge pressure and a score in the corner. With Shane Mallon adding the extra points from the touch line Longford had a 12 point lead with less than 15 minutes to play. Even when Edenderry got themselves back within a single score when their fine number 6 powered over for a converted try from close range, Longford still should have had the composure to close the game out. However, it was Edenderry who had the last say. Deep in their own half in injury time they somehow managed to steal possession from a Longford attack. A rather hopeful chip into space behind the Longford back line didn’t look like it was going to pose any huge problem or difficult but when the ball bounced invitingly into the hands of the Edenderry centre things began to go downhill. In the first instance he was not tackled although opportunities presented themselves. Then, even though he crossed the line wide out on the right he had the presence of mind to continue his run through the in goal area for a touchdown beneath the posts. Had he been kept in the corner it would have been an extremely difficult conversion attempt. From beneath the sticks however, the kicker had the relatively easy task of turning a 24 – 24 draw into a two point victory.
Squad: Jack McManus, Mark McHugh, Maks Napieralski, Ciaran Shannon, James Doyle, Conor Cox, Seamus McKeon, Ciaran McCormack, Dylan Fay, Mossie McDermott, Shane Mallon, Jamie Byrne, Ultan O’Sullivan, Daire McManus, Killian Rawle, Kieran Reen, Frank Patterson, Charlie Patterson, Joshua Gray, Gary Kenny.
U16 Leinster League Longford 15 Birr 10
An incredible display of skills and physicality could summarize the Longford U16s vs Birr game on Saturday. Longford dominated the game before it had even started. This team was determined to win and played as a powerful unit rather than 15 individuals.
Birr are always a worthy opponent and our lads had to work hard to control this physical team. 3 minutes into the game Birr scored a try breaking through our defence line. 5 minutes later Gareth O’Hara reached the try line after a series of plays created by our forwards. The game continued with scrums and lineouts and once again Gareth saw a gap in the Birr defence and scored our second try assisted by our backs. Half time, Longford 10 – 5 Birr.
The second half began with more dominance by us at the scrum. Gareth O’Hara ran in another try to give us some breathing space. Birr persisted with their physical play and scored their second try. The remainder of the game consisted of scrums and lineouts and towards the end both teams fatigue was beginning to show with both teams being penalised for unforced errors.
In the end our lads managed to protect their narrow advantage and when the final whistle blew, relief and joy was portrayed by the players and management. There were too many spectacular tackles, passes, generous team play and support to mention one particular individual. This game was a true example of what can be achieved when individuals play as team.
Next, we are playing Tullamore at home on Saturday 11th of February.
Longford: Craig Gorman, James Murphy, Gareth O’Hara, Ben Victory, Oisin McDonnell, David Connolly, John Corcoran, Michael Dunne, Kevin Griggs, William Higgins, Simon Moorehead, Brian O’Farrell, Dario Cigliano, Colin Cousins, Liam Donoghue, Cian Gray, Ciaran McGlynn, Evan Hogan, Daniel Reilly, Rory Lennon, Jake Donnelly,